Gia Lai – Kon Ha Nung Plateau in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai, recognised as a world biosphere reserve by UNESCO at the 33rd session of its International Coordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB-ICC) in Nigeria in September, is expected to create more opportunities to attract both domestic and international organisations to invest in conservation and development projects in this region.
The recognition affirms efforts of Vietnam and Gia Lai province in particular in protecting biodiversity and ecosystem and promoting sustainable development.
It also helps boost eco-tourism and community livelihoods as well as attract international scientific research.
Covering an area of 413,512 hectares, the Kon Ha Nung Biosphere Reserves comprise two core zones – Kon Ka Kinh National Park and Kon Chu Rang natural reserve on 57,493ha, and a 152,693ha buffer zone covering districts and communes of Dak Doa, Mang Yang, Kbang, Chu Pah, Dak Po and An Khe town.
Kon Ha Nung is home to rare species such as the Gray-shanked douc (Pygathrix cinerea) – a rare and endemic primate species of Vietnam and classified as critically endangered, with only about 1,000 individuals in the wild.
The two core areas of the Kon Ha Nung Biosphere Reserve have relatively intact ecosystems with high biodiversity, which are typical for the area’s forest ecosystem, flora and fauna of the Central Highlands region.
This biosphere reserve plays an important role in socio-economic development and maintaining the ecological balance of not only the Central Highlands region but also the central and southeast regions of Vietnam.
The Biosphere Reserve is a title awarded by UNESCO for nature reserves with unique and diverse flora and fauna. Biosphere reserves must meet seven criteria: having ecosystems representing biogeographic regions, significance for biodiversity conservation, opportunities for sustainable development, and a large enough area. They are also required to fulfil three functions as prescribed by UNESCO, namely conservation, sustainable development and logistic support./.